European Military Airworthiness Authorities Forum (MAWA)

Aug 6, 2012

Start Date: 2008
End Date: n/a.
Participating Countries: all
Other partners: European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

EDA’s Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum seeks to accurately harmonise European military airworthiness regulations. This successful initiative has been a great vehicle for cooperation, in line with the Agency’s core mission. The basic idea is really quite simple: to gather representatives from each of the EDA participating Member States’ National Military Airworthiness Authorities (NMAAs) around the same table in order to develop synergies between national processes and, eventually, save costs for as many users as possible.

Project goals

  • Common regulatory framework
  • Common certification processes
  • Common approach to organisational approvals
  • Common certification/design codes
  • Common approach to preservation of airworthiness
  • Arrangements for recognition
  • Formation of a European Military Joint Airworthiness Authorities Organisation

Detailed description of the project 

The role and functions of the MAWA forum have been defined in a “European Harmonised Military Airworthiness Basic Framework Document”, approved by 22 Member States so far. This document aims to clarify the principles of a common approach to military airworthiness while addressing issues such as mutual recognition between national authorities, an essential step for achieving significant benefits from this regulatory harmonisation. However this forum does not have the authority to impose regulations on individual nations; participating Member States retain their sovereignty for military airworthiness, as well as the responsibility to implement these regulation on a timescale of their choice.

Meeting several times a year, the MAWA forum has created a number of “Task Forces” dedicated to certain topics and requiring specific subject-matter expertise. Participation in these Task Forces is on a voluntary basis, and their work is then approved by the MAWA forum. So far, this strategy has already led to a number of tangible results in the field of military airworthiness. One of the most representative of EDA’s approach in that domain is the progress made in the adoption of a pan-European airworthiness standard known as EMAR, for European Military Airworthiness Requirement. To date, the MAWA forum has developed and approved three different sets of EMARs, each covering a unique aspect of airworthiness: initial aircraft certification (EMAR 21); aircraft maintenance (EMAR 145); and maintenance training organisations (EMAR 147). Other EMARs are in the process of being approved in areas such as maintenance personnel licensing or continuing airworthiness management.

A testimony to the relevance of European cooperation in this domain, some Member States have already agreed to jump aboard the EMAR train and to use the Agency’s harmonised standards for the in-service support phase of their new A400M military transport aircraft. This is of importance because by 2020, six European Member States will be using this type of aircraft in their air forces: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Early cooperation on that matter is therefore paramount, and further collaborative opportunities are being explored for other commonly operated military aircraft types such as the NH90 helicopter of the C-27J tactical airlifter.

The next step will be to make sure that the approved EMARs on type certification, maintenance, and training are totally implemented into national military airworthiness regulations. This could then allow for mutual recognition of type certificates – the document issued to signify the airworthiness of an aircraft design – which in return could unlock potential new aviation-based Pooling & Sharing opportunities among Member States. The Agency is now at work with Member States to try and achieve this milestone by the end of 2015.

In June 2013, EDA and EASA signed an agreement to enhance cooperation between the two agencies. This arrangement specifically covers the harmonisation of military aviation requirements, with a main focus on airworthiness. This increased cooperation is deemed important because of future challenges related to the emergence of “dual-use” platforms like remotely piloted air systems, or RPAS.

The relevance of this initiative was confirmed by the Ministerial Steering Board of EDA in November 2013: a political declaration was adopted which tasked the Agency, in close coordination with Member States and other relevant actors, to determine the European framework conditions necessary to support the certification of military RPAS. EDA was also tasked with engaging the European Commission to develop harmonised certification standards based, to the maximum extent possible, on those used for civilian certification.

Industry is also involved in the European Defence Agency’s work on that topic. From the outset, the MAWA Forum has made sure that the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) airworthiness committee is fully involved in the development of EMARs, and given access to relevant documents for comment. In return, the industry is invited to share best practices and lessons learned from collaborative multinational programmes such as the Tiger, NH90, Eurofighter or A400M.

Latest news

Related publications


Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK